In The Politics of Autism, I discuss interactions between first responders and autistic people. Police officers need training to respond appropriately. When they do not, things get out of hand.
Authorities said Thursday that they were investigating a shooting Monday in which a police officer shot a man who had said his hands were empty and raised at the time.
While the shooting was not captured on camera, a recording showing moments before the gunshots depicted a man lying on his back on the ground, his hands in the air, while another man sits near him cross-legged.
“All he has is a toy truck in his hand,” Charles Kinsey, the man lying on his back, yells at two police officers standing behind telephone poles just a few dozen feet away on Northeast 14th Avenue. “That’s all it is. There is no need for guns.”
Police said they only learned later that Kinsey worked at a care facility and that the man sitting near him was autistic.
After the recording stopped, one of the officers fired three shots, hitting Kinsey at least once in one leg.
“When it hit me, I’m like, I still got my hands in the air,” Kinsey, an African American, said in an interview from his hospital bed with WSVN TV.
Police have not said why the officer fired, although a police union representative said Thursday that the officer, who has not been identified and who has been placed on administrative leave, was aiming for the man with autism — apparently thinking he was armed — and was trying to protect Kinsey.